Clarification on recent blog: And We Continue Down That Road

On Monday Reel-Time.com posted my most recent blog AND WE CONTINUE DOWN THAT ROAD, about the massive amount of recreational mortality occurring right now on a declining striped bass population.  Striped bass are particularly vulnerable right now for a number of reasons.  A current problem, manifesting itself along the coast of Long Island, NY right now, is that what used to be a widely distributed body of fish in the fall has now been reduced to short-lived but intense concentrations of fish showing up in very specific geographic locations.  Because of smart-phones and of course the internet, people are finding out about such concentrations of fish quickly, and are hammering them, from party and private boats…  Both inside and yes, judging from what I’ve witnessed on a number of occasions, outside the three mile limit.

I opened the blog with a real example of what I witnessed last Thursday.  Yes there were people fishing outside of 3 miles.  But I was very specific that while such a lack of sanctuary for the striped bass was an issue, it is a very small part of a larger issue, which was overall recreational mortality on these contracted bodies of fish.   If you could have made it past the second paragraph you would have known that.

Unfortunately, the heading of the Blog read “Fishing for Striped Bass in the EEZ is illegal under federal law, but unfortunately, it is in many areas, under or even not, enforced.”  While this was not the overall intent of the blog, the photo attached to the story, which was circulated far and wide before it showed up on Reel-Time, with the heading, seemed to imply that these fish were caught in the EEZ.   Yes, the photo was offensive, to me as well as a lot of others…   Reminiscent of the old Hither Hill Haul Seine photos that angered so many people back in the 90’s.   But there was nothing blatantly illegal going on in that photo.  According to people on that boat when such photo was taken, they were not in the EEZ, and I did not mean to imply in the blog that they were.

I was clear in my blog that the larger issue was simply recreational fishing mortality during such specific geographic occurrences of abundance.   I was also clear that however annoyed I got at such photos, or the general amount of fishing mortality out there, I don’t blame the people killing fish, or the owners/captains of such party boats.  For the most part they are only doing what’s allowed by law.  Where change needs to occur is on the management level at the ASMFC, where we desperately need a reduction in fishing mortality.  I hope this sets the record straight.

Editors Note – Mark Cahill:  I added the summary and the title.  Mea culpa.  The summary was created from the first couple paragraphs of the article.  While the statement is true, it isn’t completely representative of the entire article.  I have no idea if the fish in the image came from inside or outside the EEZ.  They could have come from Mars…however, in a time of decreasing striper stocks, it should remind us all of the importance of conserving the fishery.  

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After obtaining an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Loyola College in Maryland, Captain John McMurray served in the US Coast Guard for four years as a small-boat coxswain and marine-fisheries law enforcement officer. He was then recruited to become the first Executive Director of the Coastal Conservation Association New York. He is currently the Director of Grants Programs at the Norcross Wildlife Foundation in New York. He is the owner and primary operator of “One More Cast” Charters. John is a well known and well published outdoor writer, specializing in fisheries conservation issues. In 2006 John was awarded the Coastal Conservation Association New York Friend of Fisheries Conservation Award.

Posted in Conservation
3 comments on “Clarification on recent blog: And We Continue Down That Road
  1. avatar David Blinken says:

    John,
    You hit the nail on the head.
    People only do what there told there allowed to do by law.
    All though, it’s to bad captains and anglers who have noticed the drop in bass numbers can’t take matters into there own hands.
    1) by educating there clients about the virtues of catch and release.
    2) only taking one fish if they must.
    Of course there are other issues such as poaching and hi grading.
    Of course the ASMFC has had many chances to get it right over the years but political pressure has prevailed over common sense and science.
    What the striped bass moratorium taught us is if we do the right thing fish populations bounce back quite well on there own.
    These lesions are important and should not be forgotten.
    In those years people adapted to change and because of that we now have a great but fading industry that made many of us money.
    From tackle manufactures
    Charter boats, hotels, delis etc.
    But this is now all in danger of going away.
    Some times government needs to make unpopular decisions in order to protect what we have so it doesn’t go the way of the dodo bird.
    Unfortunately, our government is only geared towards crisis management instead of long term planning which would create an industry that is sustainable and able to economically be viable for all concerned going into the future.
    As a charter boat captain I personally never bring bass back to the dock.
    I practice what I preach.
    I have not forgotten the lessons of the past and I only wish the powers that be don’t either.

  2. avatar David Blinken says:

    John,
    You hit the nail on the head.
    People only do what there told there allowed to do by law.
    All though, it’s to bad captains and anglers who have noticed the drop in bass numbers can’t take matters into there own hands.
    1) by educating there clients about the virtues of catch and release.
    2) only taking one fish if they must.
    Of course there are other issues such as poaching and hi grading.
    Of course the ASMFC has had many chances to get it right over the years but political pressure has prevailed over common sense and science.
    What the striped bass moratorium taught us is if we do the right thing fish populations bounce back quite well on there own.
    These lesions are important and should not be forgotten.
    In those years people adapted to change and because of that we now have a great but fading industry that made many of us money.
    From tackle manufactures
    Charter boats, hotels, delis etc.
    But this is now all in danger of going away.
    Some times government needs to make unpopular decisions in order to protect what we have so it doesn’t go the way of the dodo bird.
    Unfortunately, our government is only geared towards crisis management instead of long term planning which would create an industry that is sustainable and able to economically be viable for all concerned going into the future.
    As a charter boat captain I personally never bring bass back to the dock.
    I practice what I preach.
    I have not forgotten the lessons of the past and I only wish the powers that be don’t either.

  3. avatar Jason - MTK says:

    I found this interesting from page 3 ADDENDUM III TO AMENDMENT 6
    TO THE ATLANTIC STRIPED BASS INTERSTATE FISHERY MANAGEMENT PLAN:

    “The number of fish released alive increased annually after the passage of Amendment 6 to a high of 19.5 million fish in 2006. Since then, the number of fish released alive has decreased by 75% to a low of 4.8 million fish in 2010. Reasons for the decline may be attributed to a decreased availability of fish staying in nearshore areas, a reduction in stock size from the peak in 2004, and changes in angler behavior in response to socioeconomic factors.”

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